Archive for January, 2010

Albion 0 – 1 Millwall

January 31, 2010

The ultimate celebrity bellend fan, Millwall's Danny "I ate the" Baker

“Fortress Withdean”. Remember that? The days of players like Bobby Zamora and the back to back League title winning teams? Well, those days are back, Withers is a fortress again…..the only difference now it is a redoubt for visiting teams. It’s been a while (November) since I’d wrapped up and went for a pint then on to Withdean. I’d almost got my mojo back for the place. Buoyed up with our recent great form and the fantasy football experience up at Villa Park last weekend, added to our impressive record against the perennially over-achieving Sarf Londoners, I thought we’d get a nice win today. Mug.

We have lost NINE games at home now, NINE. That’s relegation regulation, no getting around it. Something is badly awry at the run-down bombsite in BN1. The match itself was pretty average. I was just saying to anyone who would listen in Block H (even they were quiet in the frigid wind) how well Adam Virgo was playing yet again when he might as well have turned round and shot into his own goal, instead he did the next best thing – five minutes into the second half  he gave it to Steve Morison, who duly slotted it past a faultless Michel Kuipers.

That was all Millwall needed, and their noisily impressive away following knew it as much as us. Their defence was solid all game. Forster and Murray each had pretty anonymous games up front, Forster giving way later to the equally anonymous, yet much heralded, Chris Holroyd, although the new boy did have a good chance which, on par with the rest of the game, squeaked past the ‘wall upright. Our best players were – Elphick, who nearly scored with a bullet header from a corner; Painter, who made way for Holroyd as Poyet went with the all-out attack option again; Calderon, most people’s man of the match, but not mine, the guy is flair, and 100% commited, but there is a little self-destruct tendency in him, he will miss games this season for picking up cards, trust me. But I love a hard-tackling full back who likes to take it to the oppo the way he does for us, he just needs to cool it a bit.

My man of the match is going to Michel Kuipers. When we were inevitably caught on the break while pressuring Millwall late on, their striker Shaun Batt, who is as fast as any fucker I’ve seen in this league, was through one-on-one with the big Dutchman twice and he pulled off two world class saves to keep the score respectable. But overall, we lost a game which we shouldn’t have yet again, blame it on some voodoo curse over Fortress Withdean, it’s our comedy bouncy castle this year.

Orient away next Saturday, our away form might save us this year, but we are deep in a relegation battle, no question.

The Hovian’s Albion Team Performance : 5 out of 10

The Hovian’s Albion Man of the Match : Michel Kuipers

Albion Team (goalscorers in bold):

(4-4-2) Kuipers; Calderon, Virgo, Elphick, Painter (Holroyd 64); Bennett, Crofts, Navarro (Cox 46), Dicker; Murray, Forster (Dickinson 64).

(Subs): Brezovan, Hoyte, Tunnicliffe, Carole, Holroyd, Cox

Gus tries to rally the troops for one last attack as we head out of Withdean deep into injury time

League One table

Sunday, 31 January 2010 00:00 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
Full League One table
1 Norwich 29 34 63
2 Leeds United 27 29 60
3 Charlton 28 20 55
4 Colchester 27 13 49
5 Swindon 26 8 48
6 Millwall 28 11 46
7 Huddersfield 26 20 45
8 MK Dons 28 4 43
9 Bristol Rovers 26 -3 38
10 Brentford 27 -3 34
11 Southampton 27 15 33
12 Carlisle 26 -3 33
13 Walsall 25 1 32
14 Yeovil 28 -5 31
15 Southend 28 -7 31
16 Hartlepool 29 -10 31
17 Leyton Orient 27 -10 31
18 Exeter 29 -11 30
19 Gillingham 28 -7 29
20 Brighton 27 -13 28
21 Oldham 25 -10 26
22 Tranmere 27 -22 26
23 Wycombe 29 -22 23
24 Stockport 27 -29 16
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The Hovian Empire grows….

January 27, 2010

Yes folks, not content with blogging about the Albion and casual clothing, yours truly is branching out the Hovian franchise. Just over a decade ago I ended a glorious four year period of decadence and slackerism by getting a BA (Hons) in Fine Art at Surrey Institute of Art and Design. I then had to go back into the real world and get a job. The pens and ink never really got picked up in anger again after that.

Most of you who read this blog will also be aware that BHAFC currently have only one independent fanzine – The Seagull Love Review (TSLR), it’s a tight little publication, the guys who write it are all as mad as a ship’s cat, it costs a nicker an issue, and like any other fan-produced entity, it gets praise and slagged off in equal measure by people who wouldn’t have the balls to try it themselves. TSLR also have their own blog, you can read it here.

So anyway, a while back I was arsing about with a few doodles at work, and played them around in photoshop, I thought they looked good and fired them off to TSLR’s Editor via North Stand Chat. The mad fool loved them and now I have a semi-regularish cartoon strip in the fanzine. Those of you who made the trip to Villa Park last Saturday (that would be everyone), might have bought a copy and saw the new strip (it was small). I now have to come up with good ideas to make it a regular feature, any ideas would be welcome.

The scan above isn’t very clear, so I’ve included the original artwork below, which you can click on and enlarge the strip. The Empire marches on.

Stockport 1 – 1 Albion

January 26, 2010

Former Stockport County vice president, naff 70s "comedian", and very tentative celebrity bellend fan Mike Yarwood

I was meant to be going to Edgeley Park tonight. I booked a BA flight from Gatwick to Manchester for £76, and a room at the insalubrious Britannia Hotel in Stocky itself for £35. But alas, I have a job interview in Hove this afternoon – around the same time my flight was due to take off. I retreived £24 back off BA (twats!) and £28 off Superbreak Holidays (nice one!). I better get that job now, but here I am arsing about on the interweb when I should be doing my homework. Expecting a win tonight, don’t care if it’s 1-0 and a shitty game. FIVE ex-County players in our squad tonight.

Three good County efforts on goal early doors, very difficult playing surface at Edgeley making hard work for Albion’s passing game. Painter booked on 28mins for a fairly innocuous challenge. Half-time – we’ve had more possession but County have easily had the better chances, Kuipers is keeping us in this.

Frenetic start to the second period, Stockport should have scored, another great save from Michel Kuipers. Had to come, cracking strike from Danny Pilkington, 1-0 to the home side. Dickinson on for Dicker on 65mins, Poyet going for 4-3-3. Forster has a shot at last, 18 minutes left. Seb Carole on for Calderon, all out attack now, we’ve been shit going forward thus far, so why not?

Ten minutes left, Kuipers makes another good save. Crofts has a header pushed off the line with 5 minutes to go – it’s isn’t happening tonight. Crofts scores a soft goal on 90 minutes off the poor surface and past Williams, the Stocky keeper. Murray nearly scores another in extra-time. What a finish to this game, end to end now. It’s all over, we got a jammy draw tonight, Stockport will feel hard done by, but that’s this crazy game of football for you. Millwall up next at Withers on Saturday.

The Hovian’s Albion Team Performance : 5 out of 10

The Hovian’s Albion Man of the Match : Michel Kuipers

Albion Team (goalscorers in bold):

(4-4-2) Kuipers; Calderon (Carole 75), Elphick, Virgo, Painter; Bennett, Crofts, Navarro, Dicker (Dickinson 65); Murray, Forster

(Subs) Brezovan, Tunnicliffe, McNulty, Carole, Cox, Dickinson, Hoyte

League One table

Tuesday, 26 January 2010 21:47 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
Full League One table
1 Norwich 28 33 60
2 Leeds United 26 27 57
3 Charlton 27 20 54
4 Colchester 26 15 49
5 Swindon 25 8 47
6 Millwall 27 10 43
7 Huddersfield 25 19 42
8 MK Dons 27 4 42
9 Bristol Rovers 25 -2 38
10 Brentford 27 -3 34
11 Carlisle 25 -3 32
12 Walsall 24 1 31
13 Yeovil 27 -4 31
14 Hartlepool 28 -9 31
15 Southampton 26 13 30
16 Southend 27 -7 30
17 Leyton Orient 26 -10 30
18 Exeter 28 -11 29
19 Gillingham 27 -7 28
20 Brighton 26 -12 28
21 Oldham 25 -10 26
22 Tranmere 26 -22 25
23 Wycombe 28 -23 20
24 Stockport 26 -27 16

Aston Villa 3 – 2 Albion

January 24, 2010

Hercules the Lion offers out the Albion shirts for proper a toe-to-toe

I’m writing this with a major hangover. What a day out! It had everything, trains, banter, booze, freezing January weather and not a bad little football game in the middle of it all. A cracking game in fact.

Me and the missus caught the 0919hrs out of Brighton, and it was already chock-full of Seagulls on their way to Villa. I got my first ale down me at 9:30am and never looked back. The Virgin train out of Euston was probably 80% full of Albion supporters, and more ale and banter was to be had, all good fun and good-natured.

Two cans of Heineken, two Smirnoff tonics and two ham sandwichs cost £18.10 in the buffet! But even that robbing bastard Branson’s prices couldn’t dampen our spirits. This was our big day, and we were well up for it.

Getting a swally in a pub near the ground and around Witton was impossible, the pub set aside for Albion supporters was already applying a one-in-one-out entry scheme when we arrived. There was a queue of about 100 waiting outside as we rocked up gagging for a pint. The off sales next door was emptying fast and the Asian shopkeeper was trying hard not to burst out singing and dancing.

After downing the last of our booze it was into the Doug Ellis Lower for the game. 8000 Albion balloons were released as the boys walked out beside a Villa team unrecognisable from the one that trots out against Man U and Arsenal, but watching the Albion come out on the big screen filled my heart with pride and the roar was deafening from both our section of the ground and the North Stand Upper. Villa fans were scratching their heads at this point – “Who are these headbangers who follow such a gash team?” more than a few Brummies around the ground were probably thinking. Fair play to them though – most of the ground was full, but for a tenner why not come along and watch their Premiershit big shots hammer the south coast minnows?

We played well, the Holte End didn’t start singing until they went 3-1 up. Tommy Elphick’s goal just before half-time had us in rapture – all I wanted from the day was one Albion goal to cheer, and I had just got it, but more was to come. At half-time I thought we were going to be good enough for a draw. The Villa Park refreshments are ok, but I especially recommend their curry and chips, fucking lovely. The home team scored on 48mins and that sinking feeling settled in my gut, we had had our big moment. When they opened us up like a can of beans and went 3-1 up their hitherto half-asleep fans started the Wembley singing, and I have to admit, when the Holte End opens up it makes some noise.

Just as the game was dying good old Nicky Forster scored his 15th goal this season, the ball was retreived and we went for them. Some Villa fans stopped their progress out of the ground to watch the dying moments as we pressured their goal – could we do it? The noise from both Albion sections was deafening, but it was not to be. Our best players in my opinion were: Adam Virgo – man of the match, he has regained some of the fire that was always in him, an immense display. Glenn Murray had an excellent game, as did the much maligned Alan Navarro. Michel Kuipers pulled out some incredible saves, and Tommy Elphick played out of his skin too.

On the train home I got shitfaced, and fell asleep on the living room floor when I got home! I think I’m still jet-lagged as my missus couldn’t wake me up. But it was worth it, every single minute of it. Thank you Gus and the team, a fantastic day. Nice one.

The Hovian’s Albion Team Performance : 8 out of 10

The Hovian’s Albion Man of the Match : Adam Virgo

Albion Team (goalscorers in bold):

(4-4-2) Kuipers; Calderon, Elphick, Virgo, McNulty; Bennett (Dickinson 64), Crofts, Navarro (Cox 73), Dicker (Carole 64); Murray, Forster

(Subs) Brezovan, Hoyte, Carole, Tunnicliffe, Cox, Hart, Dickinson

 

Hoveward Bound

January 20, 2010

That’s right pop pickers, this seagull is flying home. Tomorrow I hang up my guns and fly out of Afghanistan for good (Inshallah). The sun sets on one long chapter of my life, and hopefully a bright, fresh sunrise awaits me back home in good old Hove. If not there’s always the Albion to fall back on, right Kids?

The look and content of the blog will change more than a little now. I’ll be going along in person to most games from this point on, so the match reports won’t be blow by blow, but will encapsulate the whole day – especially those long awaydays, warts and all. But I think the blog will get better for it – more first person experiences, and of course loads of good phootys of yours truly at the match in some reet smart clobber 😉

My Villa tickets arrived through the door hole yesterday – Doug Ellis Stand Lower, it’s going to be noisy in there. See you in Brum.

Khodâ häfez

Walsall 1 – 2 Albion

January 16, 2010

One-time pop-chart wrecker, now trainspotter and Walsall celebrity bellend fan Pete Waterman

At last! A football match! Heavy pitch at the Bescot – should make for an incident full game. First starts for new full-backs Calderon and Painter, no place even on the bench for Gavin Hoyte. I’ve missed the first 15 minutes due to work, Murray scored in the ninth minute. Commentary say it’s all one way traffic. Walsall equalise on 25 minutes, Kuipers got a hand to it but it flies in.

Corner by Bennett, Elphick flicks on, Forster overhead kick…………2-1! Fourteen for the auld fella this season now. Arsing about at the back again just before half-time, what are we doing? Painter misjudges a back pass, Elphick fouls, Keystone capers yet again, but we survive – just. One on one against Kuipers – just missed. Suicide football at the end of this half.

Martin O’Neill (irritating touchline monkey) is watching this one from the Bescot stands as Villa don’t play today. Like the boys say on Seagulls Player – let’s hope we don’t look too good in front of him. Second half. As expected – pressure’s on. Calderon playing well, sounds a good acquisition so far. Kuipers is having a pretty poor show, reluctant to leave his line and inviting Walsall to get in amongst it in our box. Not good.

Corner, shot by Forster, knocked over the bar.  Walsall going for it, need a change, tired legs. Kuipers flaps at another back pass – get Brezovan on FFS! Albion trying to quieten this game down, that’s it – keep ball. Calderon has been pretty damn good by the sounds of it today. Dickinson on for Fozzy on 75 minutes.

Last 15 Walsall coming at us, but  we hold for for a well earned win. Good effort from all the lads, especially Senor Calderon – my man of the match. Things are looking up at the club at last, next stop Villa Park. And this should be the start of The Hovian going to all (well most) of the games and filing his first person match reports, and not relying on Johnny Cantor etc (who do a good job BTW) from 4000 miles away. This is my last ever Saturday in Shitholestan folks, now that’s a result!

The Hovian’s Albion Team Performance :  8 out of 10

The Hovian’s Albion Man of the Match : Inigo Calderon

Albion Team (goalscorers in bold):

(4-4-2) Kuipers; Calderon, Elphick, Virgo, Painter; Bennett, Crofts, Navarro, Dicker; Forster (Dickinson 75), Murray

(Subs) Brezovan, McNulty, Carole, Tunnicliffe, Cox, Hart, Dickinson

League One table

Saturday, 16 January 2010 17:04 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
Full League One table
1 Leeds United 25 30 57
2 Norwich 26 31 54
3 Charlton 25 20 51
4 Colchester 24 13 45
5 Huddersfield 24 19 41
6 Swindon 23 4 41
7 MK Dons 25 5 39
8 Millwall 25 7 37
9 Bristol Rovers 23 -4 34
10 Brentford 25 -2 33
11 Walsall 23 2 31
12 Hartlepool 25 -6 30
13 Southampton 25 13 29
14 Southend 25 -5 29
15 Exeter 26 -9 29
16 Yeovil 24 -2 28
17 Carlisle 23 -4 28
18 Brighton 25 -12 27
19 Gillingham 25 -7 26
20 Oldham 23 -9 25
21 Leyton Orient 24 -13 24
22 Tranmere 23 -22 21
23 Wycombe 27 -23 19
24 Stockport 23 -26 14

Loans and groans

January 14, 2010

Albion’s only non-loan signing so far this January goes through his paces in the Sussex snow

Is it just me, or has Gus Poyet’s fishing so far in the January transfer window has been a bit, well, mediocre? Gavin Hoyte has been given an extension of his loan deal from Arsenal until the end of the season. Poyet has taken on Frenchman Seb Carole for his third stint in the stripes – but on a week to week basis, assumedly because if he’s shit (I think he might be) he can offload him straightaway.

Latterly Poyet has just acquired Marcos Painter on loan from Swansea City. Our only bona-fide permanent signing is Inigo Calderon, and he was out of work before Poyet offered him a contract. Maybe I’m being hyper-critical, but the gaffer is not exactly making a big bang for his bucks in the transfer market. I presume The Lizard has plenty left over for this sort of thing?

Our current squad are in serious danger of relegating the club for next season, because going on results and league position we are pretty shit. We need good players in. These new boys may be brilliant, they may be wank, they’ll probably be somewhere in between those two extremes – but I was expecting a bit more. It’s early doors, maybe Gus, who’s an intelligent football man, has more dealing to do.

I’m mostly looking forward to seeing Calderon play, and then Painter. Won’t be long now, I’m all set for Villa Park and our Cup Final next week. Saturday’s match at Walsall looks in serious doubt – the snow is still thick on the ground.

A casual buy No. 8

January 11, 2010

I remember as a small kid being taken by my Mum down to the local Clarks shoe shop to get my little pinkies shod for school. I distinctly remember their foot-measuring machine, which looked like a mini scrapyard crusher. You took off your old shoes and put your stockinged feet into this polished aluminium monster (which was the height of technological innovation in its day). The smooth metallic walls whirred and clicked and squeezed your toes and heels one way, then the sides of your feet the other. The shop lady took the measurements and off she went, to come back with a new pair of boring black school shoes – much like the old pair you came into the shop with, only slightly bigger.

Needless to say “Clarks” were seen as naff by all schoolkids, only to be worn with school uniform or seen on the feet of your unspeakably uncool (and bearded) geography teacher. In other words – you wouldn’t be seen dead in a pair of Clarks outside of the school gates.

So, how did this staple of stuffy British schoolwear become such a big hit with terrace dressers? Two reasons. First, we became nostalgic for the sturdy old things. Secondly, and more importantly, the Clarks Originals range of sensible footwear look good, I mean really good. You can dress up or down in a pair of Clarks, you can’t do that with a pair of Trimm Trabs. Clarks are also reasonably priced, not good in itself, but if you’re shelling out in excess of £200-£300 for a good jacket, you might be a bit too brassic to fork out another £150 for a pair of shoes to go with it.

My favourite Clarks shoe is the Desert Trek. You can pick them up in sand too, but the dark brown suede pair I own are a lot easier to keep clean – piss japs, spilt ale, kebab, etc, don’t show up as much.

It’s a shame they don’t still have the old metal foot crusher in the shops, or maybe they do, just for the naughty kids that Mum brings in.

Ice ice baby

January 7, 2010

Albion ground staff assess the Withdean skiing surface prior to the (postponed) home game against Brentford

Had to happen. I’ve been watching the UK weather go more than a bit Pete Tong from an unseasonally warm – and curiously snowless – Kabul. The club called the Brentford game off today, and I don’t think many other games will kick off all over Britain this weekend. Well, I’m sure the gazillionaires in the Premiershit will be good to go, but who gives a fuck about them eh?

Some warmer news on the transfer front. Gus Poyet has signed unemployed Spanish defender Inigo Calderon (liking the name already). Inigo used to play for Deportivo Alavés (yeah I know, “fucking who?”). He’s apparently a right back, we’ve already got two of them, so I reckon either Gavin Hoyte or Andy Whing may be heading out of Withdean. We’ll see.

Just heard on Sky News that this current ice age is going to last for at least another TEN DAYS! It had better fuck off by the 22nd, I’m due in to Gatwick then. Then there’s the boring little trip up to Villa Park the day after. Get shovelling!!

Where will the Albion end up in May?

January 5, 2010

Third poll of the season folks. With the halfway point reached, and a nice little cup run to cheer us all up, it’s easy to take the eye off the ball – the Football League One ball.

So, roll up and poll up – will Gus sneak us into the play-offs? Will we climb to mid-table mediocrity? Perhaps we will scrabble for survival and stay up by the skin of our teeth like last season? Or are we free-falling into the fourth tier of English soccer? You decide.